What’s Causing Neck & Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident?

What’s Causing Neck & Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident?

Being in a car accident can be a terrifying experience; because so many people are in a state of shock immediately after a crash, they don’t always notice the extent of their injuries at first. If you’ve started to experience pain in your neck, lower back, or both areas following an accident, you might start to worry that the pain might be a sign of a serious injury you didn’t know you sustained.

With that being said, here’s what you need to know about neck and back pain after a car accident:

Why Car Accidents Are So Dangerous for Your Neck and Back

In 2022, 115,938 reportable car accidents occurred in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a significant portion of which resulted in injuries. Given the combination of human anatomy and the jarring force of a car accident, your neck and back are especially predisposed to car accident injuries.

If your car is suddenly hit by (or suddenly hits) another vehicle, your spine is what will absorb a lot of the impact, which can, at times, cause intervertebral discs — which act as natural shock absorbers  — to be ruptured by the impact. At other times, the violent snapping motion of the spine can injure the spinal cord itself.

Your neck is also likely to suffer an injury in a car accident, thanks to inertia. When the crash immediately halts the forward movement of the car, your body will still continue to be propelled forward. Since most of your body is held in your seat by a seat belt, your neck often moves forward before being irked violently backward, causing an injury. 

Common Neck and Back Injuries After a Car Accident

Car accidents can cause a wide array of injuries to your neck and back; below are some of the most common:

Disc Ruptures

The bones in your back (known as vertebrae) are cushioned by intervertebral discs. These are fairly tough, but — depending on their intensity — some car accidents can jar your spine enough to cause the discs to rupture or move. These injuries can cause considerable pain, and an injured disc pressing on a nerve may result in permanent nerve damage.

Vertebral Fractures

Vertebral fractures are breaks in your vertebrae that can be quite painful. Mild fractures may heal with rest, but serious fractures might require surgery.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Though your spinal cord is housed within the dense bones of your spine, some injuries can damage or even sever it. Mild cases can cause a loss of sensation or a tingling sensation, but severe spinal cord injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis.


As mentioned above, your neck is often forced to move forward and back in a whip-like motion when you are in a car crash. That sudden stress can cause injuries to the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and nerves in your neck area. Thankfully, unless a more serious injury is present, whiplash can usually be treated with rest and ice.

Facet Joint Injuries

The facet joints connect your vertebrae together, limiting the amount your spine can bend and twist. However, the force of an accident can cause painful damage to these joints, which, if not treated, can lead to a chronic, degenerative disorder called facet joint syndrome.

Is Neck or Back Pain After an Accident Serious?

The pain you experience after a crash might only be a sign of a mild case of whiplash, but other symptoms might be indicative of a more severe injury. The only person who can tell you for sure is your doctor. 

Some components of the neck and back are unstable, and if they’re knocked out of place or otherwise disturbed, they can worsen quickly. With prompt medical treatment, you can lessen the likelihood of serious, life-altering complications. 

Receiving prompt medical attention after a car accident can also benefit any subsequent legal claims you may have. Reach out to an attorney to learn about your best course of action for getting compensation.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Philadelphia Today To Get Help With Your Case

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers at (215) 875-7030 or contact us online.
You can also visit our law firm at 123 S Broad St #1220, Philadelphia, PA 19109.